Two brothers were killed yesterday morning after they were struck by minibuses near the Den Amstel Police Station, on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD), while they were returning home after purchasing their driver’s licence packages.
Dead are Shemon West, 28, a labourer attached to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Shalum Allen, called ‘Bigga,’ 19, both of Lots 8-9 Fellowship, WCD.
The accident occurred around 11.20 am along the Den Amstel Public Road, where West was towing Allen on a bicycle.
West reportedly died on the spot, while Allen was pronounced dead on arrival at the Leonora Cottage Hospital. They both sustained massive head injuries.
Police spokesman Jairam Ramlakhan confirmed that the drivers of minibuses BVV 8882 and BVV 7042 were taken into custody and are currently assisting with the investigation of the men’s deaths.
In a press statement, the police said minibus BVV 8882, which was proceeding east along the northern lane of the public road, stopped to put off passengers, while West and Allen were approaching from behind.
It added that as West was passing the bus, it suddenly drove off and the vehicle hit the left handle bar of the bicycle.
As a result of the impact, the brothers fell onto the southern carriageway of the road and were struck by minibus BVV 7042, which was proceeding in the opposite direction.
Both of the drivers were administered breathalyser tests and no alcohol was found in their breath, the police confirmed.
When Stabroek News visited the scene, the section of the road where the accident occurred was marked. Spots of blood and tyre marks were also visible on the roadway.
The two minibuses were also seen impounded in the compound of the Den Amstel Police station.
A number of relatives and friends of the dead men gathered outside the police station as the news of the accident spread.
Jacqueline Allen-West, their mother, was seen exiting the police station, where she had provided ranks with a statement. She was being comforted by her eldest son, Seon Moses.
“They were coming back home. They just bought…I just sent them to [buy] their package to go to learn to drive and they were coming back from the Leonora Police Station after buying their package and right there they were hit down,” Allen-West briefly related to Stabroek News as she pointed to the section of the road where the accident occurred.
Meanwhile, Moses, who was trying to compose himself, denounced the manner in which his brothers lost their lives and he specifically noted the negligence of the driver of BVV 7042 when negotiating the turn before the collision.
Moses said he believed that if the driver had exercised some amount of caution, at least one of his brothers could have been saved. “I don’t know at what point in time Shalum would have got into contact with 7042… From the looks of it, 8882 was not looking in his rear mirror to see if any vehicle was behind him… while 7042 was approaching a turn, a dead turn too, and if he was not speeding he would have been able to make some sort of adjustment for persons who were on the road,” Moses explained.
Moses said he also noticed an impact on minibus BVV 7042, which according to him shows a clear indication that the driver was speeding at the time of the accident. He however, noted while the driver of minibus BVV 7042 is not being completely blamed, it is clear that his negligence has contributed to at least one of the deaths.
He related that based on what he was told, Allen sustained a gash to the back of his head after he was allegedly dragged by minibus BVV 7042.
Moses said that while West died on spot, he was told that when Allen was placed in the tray of a police pick-up to be transported to the hospital, he was still breathing.
A family friend of the dead men, Shawnan McDonald, who was also at the scene, related to this newspaper that the brothers did not journey to the Leonora Police Station together.
He said Allen caught a minibus while West rode. “The small one [Allen] catch bus and go but the big one [West] tell he that they guh ride and come home. They nah guh pay no bus,” McDonald said.
“Whilst they did riding coming, when they hook round the turn a bus [BVV 8882] just run straight into them, because they was on the left hand side, duh was the right side fuh coming back on… the bus just hook straight into them and the other brother now duh is the big one [West] start skate and when he skate then is when he connect to the other bus [BVV 7042],” McDonald explained.
“The other one [Allen] now, he flick off the bicycle and the bus now roll over the bicycle. Like he head hook between the bus and duh is weh—me ain’t know if is the exhaust or wah—buss he head…,” he added.
“….Nothing, nothing. They wasn’t overtaking, they wasn’t wrong in no way, nothing. They was right because they went pun the right side of the road and everything but the bus was coming too speed…it was coming hard suh when he come he ain’t even expect and the two bai done in front the bus already and the two bai just get lick up,” he related.
McDonald said West had not been working due to the recent cleaning of the GGMC headquarters and its environs to rid the areas of mercury residue.
Following the accident, Divisional Commander Rishi Das and other ranks visited the home of the dead men and they met with their relatives, including Allen-West, and offered their condolences.
West was the father of a daughter and was expecting his second child.